December 19, 2011

Henry Lever Action Octagonal No. H001TV 17 HMR

It has been said in the industry that "when all else fails, invent a caliber." Part and parcel of any highly new-product driven industry is the constant attempt to invent new lines of price and performance where none exist in a tangible, real-world sense. One fairly recent cartridge development that has gained traction and popularity is the Hornady 17 Magnum Rimfire introduced in 2002. It is remarkable in many respects, gaining distinction as the first successful rimfire cartridge to hit the market in over 40 years. The last rimfire considered to be a "successful" introduction was the 22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire in 1959.

Most all of the 17-caliber cartridges offered today are either 17- or 20-grain. With such flyweight bullets, as a practical matter they are most suited for ground squirrels, rabbits, and similarly fragile and small-sized game or varmints. CCI reportedly manufactures most all 17 HMR ammunition, though there are slight differences between the brands themselves. As for the case itself, it is the 22 WMR necked down to accept the 17 HMR’s 0.172-inch-diameter bullet.

Billed as the "world’s fastest rimfire," it appears to be just that, although there are a few caveats. The sectional density of the projectiles (about .084 for the 17 grain; .097 for the 20 grain) suggest it is not a great platform for penetration, and the ballistic coefficients of the respective bullets (about .123 for both) also promise that windage is a consideration at longer ranges. It clearly is, with just a 10-mph crosswind blowing either bullet horizontally 8 inches or so at 150 yards. Unless your shooting conditions are very calm and consistent, despite the 17 HMR’s high initial velocity, it remains a 100- to 125-yard gun for most small-game applications.

Gun Tests September 2009

Quality American walnut, easy to load, and generally well-mannered handling and ease of use combined with a competitive price tag all added up to an A rating, in our view.

What this cartridge promises and delivers on is the fun factor. With negligible recoil and a reasonable cost per shot compared to most centerfires, the Hornady 17 HMR is easy on the shoulder and not especially damaging to the wallet, either. In a quest for value, performance, and fun, Gun Tests magazine loaded up a Henry Lever Action Frontier Model No. H001TV Octagon-Barrel 17 HMR, $550. After the requisite initial scoping of the rifle, it was off to the field.

The Henry impressed the magazine with its dashing good looks right out of the box. They found the medium-stained walnut stock was far better figured than average, the bluing was dark and rich, the lever action was buttery smooth, and its trigger was a very light and crisp 3.5- pound break. The heavy octagonal barrel made it look like a real gun, not a Tinkertoy, and the gold "Henry Repeating Arms" barrel lettering set off the gun nicely. Though traditional, the buckhorn iron sights are a long ways away from the testers’ favorites, and they half-expected the Henry to be a bit of a pain to scope up. They admitted they were wrong, though, finding that a set of Millett 1-inch Angle-Loc Windage Adjustable 3/8-Inch Dovetail High Rings ($20) mounted the Sightron SII 2.5-10x32mm scope quickly and with no hassle. The Millett rings gave them plenty of clearance to cock and decock the hammer manually and also required no removal of the factory iron sights. Though the 11-shot Henry tubular magazine was not exactly enough to "shoot all day," it was the best magazine capacity of the tested rifles.

Gun Tests September 2009

Though the 11-shot tubular magazine does not exactly "shoot all day," it was the highest capacity of the tested rifles, did not rattle, and the loading port (shown) is cut so you cannot load a cartridge upside down. Henry made it easy to use, as easy as any tube-fed array we have tested.

They reported breezy 8- to 12-mph range conditions, so they decided to do their shooting at a laser-verified 50 yards. They discovered that the Henry didn’t care for the 20-grain ammunition, shot the 17-grain Hornady rounds well, but was at its best with the Winchester 17-grain ammunition, shooting several consecutive groups inside one-third of an inch—groups they easily covered with a dime. They hadn’t thought that the 17 would be as ammunition-sensitive as 22 Long Rifles tend to be, but admitted to being wrong about that as well. For whatever reason, the Henry liked to be fed the Winchester ammunition the best.

They said they went over the Henry closely, trying to be as picky as possible. They really couldn’t find much to carp about. They did find one section of the forearm wood, the very end pointing toward the muzzle, that was not sanded smooth. It was hard to spot, and they considered it so very hard to discern and in such an unobtrusive area they initially didn’t bother to call Henry to avail ourselves of their lifetime warranty. They thought that for most consumers, it would go completely unnoticed or would not be considered worth a phone call.

The forearm of the Henry had a small cosmetic flaw; a spot of rough, improperly sanded wood at the muzzle end. Henry rectified this tiny flaw immediately, overnighting a brand new forearm to us.

Henry Repeating Arms President Anthony Imperato refers to his company’s lifetime warranty policy and customer service policy as "Extreme Customer Service." Since the forearm did have a minor finish flaw, they did contact Henry, described the small cosmetic issue, and sent along a photograph to show precisely what they were referring to. Without hesitation a brand-new replacement forearm was overnighted to them that was finished perfectly. Henry made good on its warranty and customer-service pledge.

The only annoyance they could come up with in use of the Henry is what would be expected with any lever-action shot off their Caldwell Fire Control rest—they had to cant the gun to cycle the action, the lever’s downward throw interfering with the shooting rest itself.

Gun Tests Magazine Said: They liked the octagonal barrel of the Henry, they appreciated the trigger, they enjoyed the lack of rattling present in the loaded gun (as opposed to some tube-fed attempts), and with the Henry’s smooth action and more than acceptable accuracy with 17-grain ammunition, they ended up impressed. They concluded that it did everything they could ask of a lever-action 17 HMR.

Comments (8)

I have a Henry youth lever action 22 that I bought to teach my great nephews and others to shoot. This gun is wonderful. It is accurate and we have put many thousands of rounds through it.
I also have one in 44 mag I keep in my truck. They just make a quality product at a reasonable price. Harold Olson

Posted by: oleolson | December 25, 2011 6:26 AM    Report this comment

I have two Henrys - an old Survival AR-7 22 and more recent 22 lever action.
Each is a pleasure to shoot.
The AR-7 has been banged around for maybe 20 years - it's scuffed up but is as accurate as it was out of the box. And it still floats.
The lever-action exemplifies everything in the article - superb workmanship, buttery action, Bluing as deep as my pre-60s German-made PPK - a pleasure to shoot - even all week long.
To my mind, Henry is one Great American Company.
P.S. Had one experience with Customer Service - needed to replace a torn stock cap/end: A+, could not have been better.

Posted by: yarlq | December 23, 2011 6:18 AM    Report this comment

I can tell you from experience... Henry absolutely stands by their products. Customer service is FIRST RATE and the quality of a 100% USA made product is top notch. My dad, myself and my son all have Henry rifles and they are outstanding! I would HIGHLY recommend any product that Henry manufactures. I'd be their paid spokesperson... for FREE.

Posted by: Ethan S | December 22, 2011 9:41 PM    Report this comment

nmgene, don't get me wrong but I also use my 10/22 and my savage .22/20 ga as good truck guns. I even take my .357 mag lever action and one of my .357 mag handguns with me when I go out on my quad when I am helping the rancher next door by checking up on one of his herds of cattle during calfing and there has been a big cat around the area or alot of coyotes around, I even take my Mini 14 sometimes.Theres even times I only take my Ruger single six in .22/.22mag with me out in the desert. for gritters. It all depends.
God Bless America and Our Troops Past Present and Future.
Keeping to My Oath Locked Loaded and Keeping My Powder Dry.
Get the US Out of the UN and the Un Out of the US

Posted by: bear1 | December 22, 2011 9:36 PM    Report this comment

Ill stick with my Ruger 10/22, WMR ammo and 17 ammo costs 3 to 4 times as much. My stainless 10/22 only cost me $179 at a Walmart sale. Not going to spend $550 on a lever action that uses expensive ammo.

Posted by: nmgene | December 22, 2011 9:14 PM    Report this comment

I have a Henry Big Boy .44 Magnum. I absolutely love it, and would highly recommend Henry Repeating Arms to anyone.

Posted by: Rikkor | December 22, 2011 3:08 PM    Report this comment

This is what looks like a nice rifle and the price isn't bad either, but I have a nice .22WRM that most of the guys I know call a good truck gun. This is because most of us are old fashioned cowboys, ranchers, farmers,loggers,and some rural contractors have because we can just toss them (so to speak) in behind the seat or on a gun rack behind the seat or in a tool box and have it ready incase we need it for varmits or to put down stock that is sufering, like with a broken leg, etc. and it can still be used to chase off unwanted people on posted lands, without being to blusterous.

God Bless America and Our Troops Past Present and Future.
Keeping to My Oath Locked Loaded and Keeping My Powder Dry.
Get the US Out of the Un and the UN Out of the US

Posted by: bear1 | December 22, 2011 1:40 PM    Report this comment

Lever action .22s are fun guns. I suppose that having one in .22 WRM is a good idea if you want a little more oomph for assurance of cleaner kills on small game. My problem, right now, is that I have so many firearms in my collection, that things are getting a bit redundant, so I'll have to pass on this one.

Posted by: canovack | December 22, 2011 12:08 PM    Report this comment

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